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Prasanna blames ICC on Murali crisis

Published: Saturday, May 1, 2004, 1:17 [IST]
 
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New Delhi:Former Test off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna has said the International Cricket Council (ICC) should take the blame for the messy issue of suspect bowling action and that it was unfair to haul up Sri Lankan offie Muttiah Muralitharan now when he was on the verge of making history.

Commenting on the chucking controversy, which has hit the headlines again following the reporting of Muralitharan, the Indian legend said it was unfair to put any bowler under scrutiny after he had played years of international cricket.

"Without going into Muralitharan's doosra, I would like to say, don't blame any bowler for suspect action after he had played 80 to 90 Tests and been on the scene for 10 years or more," said Prasanna, a member of the famous spin quartet.

"If at all there was any problem, it should have been dealt with at the early stages. To subject a bowler to such tests when he is on the verge of making history is ridiculous.

"Things like 'biomechanics' is just a jargon. I think the ICC should take much of the blame (for the present state of things)," he said.

Prasanna, who mesmerised batsmen with his teasing off breaks in the 60s and 70s, said the psychological aspect of why a bowler chucks should be studied more in detail rather than the biomechanical factor.

"We must try and find out why a bowler chucks. We must understand the psychology of the bowler by asking if he is under any pressure or if he is gaining any unfair advantage by bowling such a delivery," Prasanna said.

Prasanna, who now lives in Kolkata, expressed bemusement at the interpretation of cricket law with regard to illegal deliveries and called for a change in the process of dealing with the same.

"I am surprised as to where these degrees have come from," the 63-year-old said referring to the biomechanics' report on Muralitharan.

The report on Muralitharan said the Sri Lankan straightened his arm by 14 degrees as against the permissible five degrees.

"To my knowledge, the Laws of Cricket do not talk about any degree. If the arm straightens, by any degree, then it is illegal.

"If there is any amendment to the Law, I do not know. In my vocabulary, a deviation is a deviation," he said.

The former great, however, disagreed that an off-spinner cannot bowl an away going delivery.

"My friend, have a heart! in our days, too, we used to bowl the floater, the drifter and such away going deliveries. 'Doosra' is a modern terminology.

"There is no reason why an off-spinner cannot take the ball away from the batsman, if he can impart enough spin to it," said the former player who played in 49 Tests and took 189 wickets.

In Prasanna's opinion, it would be more sensible if the experts studied the video of the particular delivery over which the umpires had doubts instead of asking the bowler to reproduce the same in the 'nets'.

"When I was a member of the ICC's Illegal Deliveries Committee -- I don't know if I am still there or not because I have not received any communication from them so far - I suggested that the umpire, when he has a doubt over the bowler's action, make a note of it and report it to the committee. Subsequently the video of that particular ball could be studied," he said.

Recalling the instance when he was invited to London to watch Harbhajan Singh's remodeled action a few years ago, Prasanna asked, "do you think any bowler experienced enough will show his weakness after you have told him you are going to test him."

Asked if the onset of TV replays had coloured the way of looking at bowling actions as such, he said "TV is there to help those who cannot go to the stadium to enjoy cricket and secondly for the benefit of commentators and umpires to watch replays."

Prasanna also favoured the on-field-umpire making decisions instead of experts giving their opinion after studying the videos.

"He (the umpire) is supposed to conduct the game according to the Laws and is empowered to take (necessary) action," he said.

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